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07/15/96 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. DAVID TURNER

July 15, 1996

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DAVID TURNER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable SHELVIN SINGER, Judge Presiding.

Released for Publication August 29, 1996.

The Honorable Justice Buckley delivered the opinion of the court: Wolfson and Braden, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Buckley

JUSTICE BUCKLEY delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a bench trial defendant, David Turner, was found guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. He was sentenced to consecutive prison terms of natural life for first-degree murder and 30 years for aggravated kidnapping. On appeal, defendant argues: (1) the State failed to prove him guilty of first-degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the State failed to prove him guilty of aggravated kidnapping beyond a reasonable doubt; and (3) the imposed sentence was improper.

BACKGROUND

Willie Williams and Pamela Powers were murdered the night of October 1, 1990. Defendant and Gerald Reed were charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated kidnapping. The cases were severed, but tried simultaneously. Defendant chose a bench trial, while Reed chose a trial by jury. The following testimony was elicited at trial.

Lille Bell testified for the State. On October 1, 1990, she lived in the second-floor apartment at 6840 1/2 South Perry Street in Chicago, Illinois. At around 7 p.m. on October 1, Bell and her neighbor, Mia Grover, walked across the street to visit Powers at her apartment. At that time, Powers was fully dressed and wearing shoes. Defendant and Reed were also at Powers' apartment. Williams arrived at Powers' apartment 15 minutes later. According to Bell, the six of them stayed at Powers' apartment for a while, and then everyone, except Williams, left. Grover and Powers went to Bell's apartment across the street. Defendant, Reed, and Bell went to defendant's house at 315 West Marquette to check on defendant's son. Bell stated that they took a shortcut to defendant's house through a viaduct at Kennedy-King College.

Defendant, Reed, and Bell returned to Bell's apartment at around 9:30 p.m. Grover joined them for a few drinks and they remained for about 20 minutes. Bell stated that she and Grover then went to the store, and when they returned to Bell's apartment 20 minutes later, defendant and Reed were still there. Defendant and Reed left shortly thereafter and Bell and Grover went to a neighbor's apartment. Sometime later defendant came up the stairs leading to the porch that Bell shared with the neighbor she was visiting, and she and defendant returned to Bell's apartment.

Bell further testified that Reed and Powers joined them in Bell's apartment a short time later. According to Bell, Powers looked "freaked out" and she was not wearing shoes or a coat. Powers walked as Reed guided her into the bathroom. Bell heard Reed say, "Where is the money?" She also heard him ask defendant, who was about 15 feet away from the bathroom, to find some shoes for Powers. At this point, Bell took her bottle of wine and went to her neighbor's apartment. When Bell returned to her apartment 40 minutes later, defendant, Reed, and Powers were gone.

Defendant and Reed returned to Bell's apartment approximately 40 minutes later, without Powers. When Bell asked defendant about Powers, defendant told her Powers was gone, and Reed said that she had run off. Bell also testified that she kept a "community gun," a .357 magnum, in her closet, which she had seen in the possession of defendant and Reed several times. The police could not find the gun when they searched Bell's apartment.

Mia Grover also testified for the State. Grover testified that when they were at Powers' apartment at the beginning of the evening on October 1, Powers told them that Williams was on his way to Powers' apartment to bring them money. According to Grover, Williams arrived 15 minutes later and gave some money to Powers.

At 11 p.m., Grover was in the hallway outside her apartment when Reed and Powers came up the stairs on their way to Bell's apartment. Powers was wearing a sweater and blue jeans, but no shoes. According to Grover, Powers looked scared and she did not respond when Grover asked her what was wrong. Powers and Reed went into Bell's apartment and Reed closed the door. Grover stood outside the door and heard defendant, who was in Bell's apartment, say, "We are not going to have this shit, bitch." Grover then heard Reed mention something about a car. Defendant responded that he did not need a car and then stated, "I will drop this bitch behind Kennedy-King." Grover went back to her apartment, and when she returned to Bell's apartment 30 minutes later, no one was there.

Grover further testified that at about 1 a.m., she went to Bell's apartment again. Defendant, Reed, and Bell were present. Defendant asked Grover if she knew where Powers was and Grover told him the last time she had seen Powers, she was coming up the stairs with Reed. Defendant then asked her if she was ready to die, and she answered "no." After defendant and Reed left Bell's apartment, Grover and Bell looked for the "community gun" in Bell's closet and could not find it.

Robert Rounds, who worked at a Shell gas station at 6659 South Wentworth, testified that at around 1 a.m. on October 2, he heard a gunshot coming from the area of Kennedy-King College, which was about 175 yards away.

Around 2 a.m. on October 2, the police discovered Powers, who had a slight pulse, lying in the viaduct northwest of Kennedy-King College. She was naked from the waist down and had two gunshot wounds to the head. Chicago police officer Theodore Roberts testified that Powers was found in a secluded area that did not have a lot of foot traffic at 2 o'clock in the morning. Powers later died at the hospital.

Terrell Smith, Grover's boy friend, testified that, at around 1 p.m. on October 2, he went to Powers' apartment looking for Grover. The apartment had been ransacked. He found Williams dead on the ...


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